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Apple and Amazon deny claims China infiltrated their systems

Apple and Amazon have denied claims that Chinese spies used tiny chips to harvest data from their systems.

The allegations were detailed in a Bloomberg Businessweek report on Thursday (4 October), which claimed China had embedded chips the size of a pencil tip in servers used by 30 companies across the US.

Apple and Amazon have since published strongly worded denials. In statements posted online, Amazon described the claims as “untrue”, while Apple said there was “no truth” to them. Supermicro, the company which allegedly sold the servers, has also said it “strongly refutes” the news agency’s reporting.

Bloomberg’s story sent shockwaves through the industry on Thursday, impacting Apple and Amazon’s share prices, as well as those of Chinese tech firms. In the wake of the report, the National Cyber Security Centre said it had “no reason” to doubt Apple or Amazon’s denials, but also called for anyone with intelligence about the matter to get in touch.

“Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server,” Apple said in its statement. “Apple never had any contact with the FBI or any other agency about such an incident. We are not aware of any investigation by the FBI, nor are our contacts in law enforcement.”

Amazon said at “no point” had it “ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in SuperMicro motherboards”.

Bloomberg told Reuters it stood by its story and was “confident in our reporting and sources”.